Think a tour with DuVine Cycling + Adventure Co. is only suitable for the hard-core cyclist who wants to trek the world’s bike paths just to prove he’s a cycling phenom? Think again. This is a cycling tour company that, in our estimation, truly embraces the phrase “experiential travel,” and is inclusive of everyone in the family—yes, they even have family tours. Clients will have to know how to maneuver a bike, of course, but what the company offers is more than a simple bike tour for the pros (though they have bike tours specifically for them, too). It’s a cycling tour that allows participants to immerse themselves in a destination. And that all-too-often tossed about phrase, “getting off the beaten path”? Well, with DuVine—being that the mode of transportation is only on two wheels—your clients will really get to go off the well-trodden path, perhaps down that narrow cobblestone street that leads who knows where…and therein lies the adventure. Best part? The cycling pack tops off at just 14 people.
“Experiencing authentic, local culture is not easy with 25 other lycra-clad cyclists in tow. Access to many small galleries, exclusive wineries, and a local family’s dining table are often only possible with a smaller number of guests,” says DuVine’s president and founder, Andy Levine. “This is why a DuVine group never exceeds 14 guests. Our commitment to intimate group sizes, and an average guide to guest ratio of 4:1, ensures the best possible service, the closest connection to both locals and fellow travelers, as well as the most flexibility to go off the beaten path.”
Levine’s passion is evident—when we spoke with him he was on a bike tour through Martha’s Vineyard and had just stopped cycling to take a break and give us a call (the company is based in Massachusetts). He doesn’t just sell bike tours, he lives the life, and that love for what he does spills over into masterfully crafted tours that traverse the world: North America, Argentina, Chile, Uruguay, Ecuador (including the Galapagos!), France, Italy, Jordan, Portugal, Ireland…we could go on, but we’ll point to the new 2013 tours: Slovenia and Istria. The 6-day Slovenia Bike Tour, for example, which is ideal for the active rider and starts at $4,495, wanders through mountain villages, alpine lakes, and dense forests, plus includes a rafting trip down the Soca River, time to explore the wine country of Goriska Brda and meet with the cheese makers of Drezniske Ravne.
The types of tours—all of which are hand-crafted experiences, stresses Levine—are as varied as the destinations. Clients can opt for a Classic tour, which includes the company’s signature trips such as Provence and Tuscany; the Family tours, which are specially designed to provide opportunities for bonding through shared experiences; Private tours; Couture tours—with sumptuous meals, exquisite accommodations, and rarified VIP experiences—and the Pro level, which is “all about the climb” on such itineraries as the Colorado Pro GC Bike Tour (departing Aug. 18, 2013). In fact, as part of its Cannondale Tours powered by DuVine, the company offers a slew of trips to the world’s most elite cycling events, with behind-the-scenes access—think Tour de France or the Giro d’Italia. But we digress, because truly for DuVine it’s not just about the cycling.
So what does lie beyond the bike path? There are tours of the oldest working olive oil mill in Provence, a visit to a family-run Umbrian vineyard, snorkeling in Darwin Bay in the Galapagos, going on a canopy tour in Chile, as well as visiting historic lighthouses in Cape Cod or even hiking in the Wadi Rum desert, to name just a few of the myriad highlights included.
In fact, Levine points out that DuVine “includes more on our trips than any other major bike tour. Our travelers never have to take out their wallet on tour to enjoy wine with dinner, all lunches, apres velo drinks, and a custom Sugoi cycling jersey.”
In terms of equipment and road support, Levine points out that the company uses lightweight, high-quality bikes that are serviced before and after every tour, and clients can pick from a tandem, an e-bike, or an elite racing model.
travel agent incentives
DuVine works with agencies to develop custom incentive programs, including commission overrides, cooperative marketing funds, FAM trip invitations, event invitations, and webinar training. “It makes the planning process much easier for DuVine when a travel planner is involved,” says Levine.